You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2011 / December / Blue Out, Canning Efforts Raise $47,000 to Fight Child Abuse, Rape

Blue Out, Canning Efforts Raise $47,000 to Fight Child Abuse, Rape

A movement started by two graduate students at Penn State has resulted in $47,000 being raised for two nonprofit organizations fighting child abuse and sexual assault.
December 12, 2011
Blue Out, Canning Efforts Raise $47,000 to Fight Child Abuse, Rape

Grad students Laura March (second from left) and Stuart Shapiro (center) and McLanahan's owner Raymond Agostinelli (second from right) and manager Connie Williams (left) present a check to Chrystal Walsh of Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania.

A movement started by two graduate students at Penn State has resulted in $47,000 being raised for two nonprofit organizations fighting child abuse and sexual assault.

Laura March, a graduate student in the College of Arts and Architecture, and Stuart Shapiro, a first-year student in the Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Program, started the campaign to "blue out" Beaver Stadium by having all fans wear blue for the Penn State Football game against Nebraska on Nov. 12. Blue is the color of ribbons displayed in support of child abuse awareness.

The two teamed up with State College retailer McLanahan's to sell T-shirts in support of the effort, with all proceeds going to Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania, an organization dedicated to awareness and prevention of child abuse. McLanahan's sold about 8,000 shirts in the week leading up to the Nebraska game, and on Dec. 7 presented a check to Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania for $25,000.

March and Shapiro also organized the canning effort inside Beaver Stadium during the Nebraska game, which resulted in about $22,000 being raised for Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and organization fighting sexual violence and supporting the needs and rights of victims.

The two students came up with the idea for the blue out campaign on Nov. 6, after reading about child sex abuse charges filed against retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. They were seeking ways to comfort themselves in the aftermath of the scandal that has affected the entire Penn State community when March discovered that blue is the color of the awareness ribbons supporting child abuse causes.

"I had recently taken a class about using art to make a difference, and this seemed like an appropriate way to bring the University community together in the aftermath of this tragedy while showing our collective support for all victims and survivors of child abuse," March says.

With only five days before the Nebraska game, she and Shapiro worked quickly to get the word out. They started a marketing communications campaign, first on Facebook and then through traditional media. When they approached McLanahan's about selling the T-shirts for charity, March literally had only minutes to create its design to get the shirts on the store's shelves before the game.

In the days leading up to the game, the Facebook event page for the blue out quickly became a virtual village square, with visitors expressing their opinions and feelings about all aspects of the event.

"We made a conscious decision before we started the Facebook page that we were not going to censor any of the comments," Shapiro says. "At first we tried to respond to every comment, both negative and positive, but that soon became impossible as the responses grew. But then the community took over the page, responding to each other, and it became this great virtual meeting place where open discourse flourished."

In an organization as large as Penn State, March and Shapiro believe this campaign is proof that everyone can make a difference.

"This was a true collaboration of the arts and business, coming together and doing something positive in the aftermath of tragedy," says Shapiro.

The blue out T-shirts will be available through December at McLanahan's and online at pennstateroom.com. They are $9.99 each with all proceeds going to Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania.

For more information on Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania, visit preventchildabusepa.org.

Filed under:
Recent News
DelGrosso Foods' Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing Brings Real-Life Case Study to Marketing Class 16 Apr

Michael DelGrosso, vice president of global sales and marketing at DelGrosso Foods, provided several Penn State Smeal College of Business Marketing 422 Advertising and Promotions Management classes with a unique view of a new product launch last month.

Smeal College Celebrates Philanthropy 15 Apr

Alumni and friends of the Penn State Smeal College of Business gathered at the Business Building on April 11 to celebrate the impact of philanthropy on students and faculty. The college’s annual Leaders Celebration acknowledges the outstanding generosity of donors who provide student scholarships, enhance physical resources and technology, support faculty research, and more.

Smeal Undergraduate Net Impact Chapter and Honors Society Beta Alpha Psi Partner with KPMG to Fight Illiteracy 14 Apr

Earlier this semester, the Penn State Smeal College of Business Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter partnered with KPMG, Accounting and Finance honors society Beta Alpha Psi, and First Book for a corporate social responsibility event providing 200 children at Penns Valley Elementary School in Spring Mills, Pa., with books and a day of literacy activities.

Smeal College of Business Mourns Alumnus, Philanthropist John Garber 11 Apr

John D. Garber ’40 passed away last month in Palm Desert, Calif. He and his wife, Bette, were significant contributors to the Penn State Smeal College of Business, establishing the John and Bette Garber Venture Capital Center for Penn State Smeal MBA students in 1999.

Students Organize, Manage Major Women's Conference on Campus 10 Apr

The annual Powerful Women Paving the Way conference—last year’s Penn State Outstanding Program of the Year—is well-attended by both women students and professionals. But what many people don’t know is that it is student-run and organized.

More Recent News... More Recent News...